Bass Coast,

New laws for cat owners

Bass Coast Shire Council will implement new laws regarding cat ownership following a decision at the May Ordinary Meeting.

As of 10 April 2017, an Order which will be made under the Domestic Animals Act 1994 will require cat owners to compulsory desex newly registered cats from three months of age, and also enforce a night time containment order for cats from sunset to sunrise.

Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Jordan Crugnale, said requiring newly registered cats to be desexed and all cats to be contained at night time will reduce the occurrences of nuisance, attacks on native fauna and unwanted cat litters.

“According to the Australian Wildlife Conservatory, millions of native animals are killed each night, witharound 20 million feral cats taking up to four animals a night. The figures are alarming and all tiers of government are working together, setting strategies, targets and delivering on the ground programs,” Cr Crugnale said.

“We all have a responsibility to do our bit to protect the habitat and the living native animals within it.

Cr Crugnale said a feral cat eradication program also reduces the spread of toxoplasmosis, which can include humans and other animals, and feline HIV affecting domestic cats.

“Council works very closely with Phillip Island Nature Parks and Parks Victoria, who are active on the ground implementing feral cat eradication programs on French Island and Phillip Island,” Cr Crugnale said.

“Keeping your cat contained at night helps reduce these figures and protect the native wildlife that we so treasure.”

On average, Council receives around 150 requests each year from people wanting to borrow one of Council’s free cat traps to deal with a nuisance cat on their property and responds to around 80 complaints in relation to cats at large, indicating that stray cats are causing a nuisance.

Under section 68A of the Domestic Animals Act 1994, councils must prepare a Domestic Animal Management Plan that includes programs, services and strategies to minimise the potential for dogs and cats to create a nuisance.

In developing the Plan, Council consulted the community about issues regarding responsible pet ownership, and how these issues affect individuals and neighbourhoods.

Council will undertake a public education program to inform and educate the community about the introduction of the two new orders.